The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program

The program awards $20,000 in scholarships each year to students enrolled in four-year HBCUs

To honor and commemorate the 2018 bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Douglass, a scholarship program was established in support of students attending accredited historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationwide. The program, which recognizes and celebrates one of the most transformative figures in our nation’s history, will be administered and managed by UNCF for a period of 20 years, through academic year 2038-39.

About the scholarship program

The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program was established by Tony Signore, whose knowledge, respect and deep admiration for Douglass was instilled in him in 1982 by the Jesuits at Fordham University. To honor one of the most important African American figures in our country’s history, the Signore Family designed and funded the program to recognize this historic leader, providing scholarship support to outstanding young women and men attending HBCUs.

In 2018, during the announcement of the scholarship program, Signore, founder and chairman of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship stated, “It’s an incredible honor and privilege for our family to celebrate the life of a true American hero. On the 200th anniversary of his birth, it is with great reverence that we reflect upon the legacy of a great man and leader, who had such a profound impact on our nation’s history. We also understand the importance and responsibility of supporting HBCU scholars who demonstrate their passion for education.”

The program will award two $10,000 scholarships each year to exceptional HBCU seniors who have demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.

“A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people. ”Frederick Douglass

Selection Criteria

The inaugural application opened during the 2018-19 academic year, with annual applications opening each year through the 2038-39 academic year. Applicants for the scholarship program must:

  • Be enrolled full-time as a rising senior at any accredited public or private four-year HBCU
  • Possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale as verified through submission of a current transcript
  • Demonstrate a commitment to community service
  • Have a demonstrated, unmet financial need as verified by their college or university
  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) form

Application Process

A link to the online application will be added to the page when the next session opens.  All application materials must be received by the deadline.

“Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done. ”Frederick Douglass

Learn about the Life of Frederick Douglass